How to Build a 'Monster Gaming' Rig
< this is old but the tecniques are obviously the same, meaning the methods on how to build a gaming rig can be learnt from this however certain products mentioned may now be dated >
So, you’re going to buy a new computer, and you want to play the newest games right out of the boxes, So, what are you going to buy? IBM? Hewlett-Packard? Dell? I figured as much. Sorry to bust your bubbles, but the “store-bought” variety of computer will never provide you with the ultimate gaming experience. Trust me on this – I’ve dealt with too many of them. The best thing to do is to buy your own components, and build your own. I know it sounds daunting, but believe me; it’s not as hard as it looks.
First, we need to decide what we’re going to put in this baby. The basic parts you’re going to need include:
• Case • Motherboard/CPU • 3-1/2” Floppy Disk Drive • Power Supply • Memory • Video Card and monitor • Sound Card and speakers • Hard Drive • CD-ROM or CD burner • Keyboard • Modem • Operating System
We’ve got all our parts, and we’re ready to begin. A few accessories are recommended at this point – a large, flat workspace, like a kitchen table, a Phillips-head screwdriver, a paper cup (to hold all your screws), and a cold drink (I’ll explain later). You also might want to consider an anti-static wrist strap, because one stray spark of static electricity, and all these high-priced parts of yours are going to end up as expensive doorstops.
The first thing you need to do is to find the tray in your case that the motherboard will fit into. Usually, there are four to six Phillips-head screws included in the case, so go ahead and attach the motherboard to the tray, but be very careful not to screw it in too tightly, or else you could damage the circuits. Motherboards are very delicate, and don’t tolerate abuse. Once that’s done, the tray should slide back into the case, and can be properly fastened down.
Now that the main board and case are put together, it’s time to start putting pieces in. The order really doesn’t matter, but I suggest putting your power supply in first. It will usually take two or three screws, and then you can connect it to the motherboard on its appropriate slot. The connectors will only fit one way, and trying to plug it in backwards will ruin a perfectly good power supply.
Next, find your hard drive bay in your case. It’s usually towards the top center, about 5-1/4” in length. The hard disk drive will slide into its bay, and you can tighten it down with four screws, usually two on each side. Once that’s in place, take a power cable and connect it to the rear of the drive, then find the connector cable, which looks like a gray snake with two black heads, one on each end. There’s a red stripe running down one side of the cable, and it should be connected to pin #1 on the disk drive and the appropriate controller on the motherboard. These pins are clearly marked on the board and the drives, so just push the connectors into place. Now, your CD-ROM or CD-burner drive, depending on which you’ve chosen, will go in a bay right above that, again using four screws to tighten it down, and attaching it to the proper connectors. Finally, your floppy drive goes in a special-sized bay in the middle of the case, with the same procedure for tightening and connecting.
Now, we move to the middle of the motherboard, where you’ll find the memory slots. Most modern PC’s take at least 256 MB of RAM, and 512+ is preferable. The RAM chips fit into specially designed slots on the motherboard, and again, only fit one way. Once these are connected, look for three long white slots near the back of the motherboard. These are the PCI slots, where your modem and sound cards will go. There should be silver guards over each slot, attached with Phillips-head screws. Remove these guards, keeping the screws in your paper cup, and then insert the cards into the slots, pushing them as far as they will go. Once they’ve been inserted, they can be tightened down with the screws from your paper cup. There should also be a smaller, gray slot above the white slots, and this is the AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) slot for your graphics card. Installation is very similar to the sound and modem cards – push the card in as far as it will go, and then tighten it down with the screw. Now, put the cover back on the case, and tighten it down with four more screws, which should just about empty the little paper cup.
Whew! Believe it or not, we’re almost finished. We’ve got just two more ‘essential’ pieces to connect. The first piece to connect will be the monitor. There’s a connector attached to the monitor with several ‘teeth’ protruding. Find a similar connector on the video card with holes corresponding to the pattern of the teeth on the monitor cable, and push the two together. There are two screws on the monitor cable that will tighten the connection. Once that’s done, find your main power cord and connect it to the power supply and your home outlet.
Even in this day and age, no system is complete without a keyboard. The keyboard fits into a special connector on the back of your case, usually by a small, round connector with several “teeth” arranged in a semi-circle. Find the corresponding hole in the back of the PC, and plug the connector in. The mouse, which is another essential component, will connect the same way.
With everything connected, it’s time to turn on the power. Find the power switch on the front of the PC, and press it. Make sure you’ve also turned your monitor on at this point. You should see a screen with several numbers flashing by. This is the test that every PC performs on itself when turned on, to make sure that the internal components are all working properly. Assuming that everything works, you’ll be taken to a screen where you set the time and date, and the onboard BIOS (Basic Input Output System) will detect your hardware and set up the basics, such as the floppy drive, hard drive, etc. Once you determine that everything is functioning, find your operating system CD, usually Windows XP, and place it into the CD-ROM drive. Turn the system off and back on, and the installation process begins. Now, remember that cold drink I suggested at the beginning? Open it, and enjoy. You’ve done it! The hard part is basically over, but we’ve still got a few tweaks to make before this thing becomes a true “monster” gaming rig.
The installation process for Windows XP takes about an hour, and once it’s finished, the operating system will query all the other parts in your computer (modem, CD-ROM, graphics card, etc.), and install drivers for them. Once this is completed, the worst part of Windows XP is “product activation,” where you send a little message about your computer to Microsoft, through your modem, and they respond with an activation code. You need to do this within 30 days, or Windows XP won’t work properly. Once everything is installed in the basic operating system, it’s time to start installing games and having fun!
Some people will wonder where to get the parts for a monster machine like this. You can find these parts usually at a computer supply store, like Computer Renaissance, or, for the more common parts, you can go to your neighborhood Best Buy or CompUSA. As far as the CPU is concerned, I recommend either an Intel Pentium 4 or an AMD Sempron, or an AMD Athlon XP chip if you can afford it, with a speed of at least 1000 megahertz. 3-1/2” drives are still an essential part of PC gaming, even to this day. Get a CD-burner drive if at all possible, so you can run your games and make copies if necessary. Graphics cards are relatively inexpensive, and I recommend getting the fastest you can afford.
For memory, like I said, the more, the better. 128 megabytes is the bare minimum, and get 256 or more if you possibly can, 512 is seen as standard these days, and some machines even house memory as large as 1gb or more for demanding applications and games. For hard drives, 20 gigabytes is the absolute minimum, and, just like memory, more space if at all possible. Well, there’s really only one thing left to say, and that’s “Good Luck!” By following these steps, you should be able to build a gaming PC that will be the envy of all your friends… At least, for the next month or so, anyway.